Online Options for Executive Assessment (EA) Prep
Overview of Online EA Prep
The internet can be a valuable tool for EA preparation. Test-takers can find a great deal of information on score requirements for business school, official policies and procedures for taking the EA, official practice materials, and prep courses, books, videos, and other preparation aids offered by private test prep firms. The advantages of online EA preparation include convenience, cost savings in a variety of areas, and ease of access. The main disadvantage of online preparation is a reduced level of personal interaction, which can leave the test-taker disconnected from some of the benefits of in-person collaboration with instructors and fellow students.
GMAC Online Prep
The GMAC website (www.mba.com) provides aspiring graduate business students with a number of free online resources. Test-takers can download a free EA questions sampler. This sampler includes nine questions across Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. By signing up for a free account, users will have access to the sampler for two weeks, allowing them to become familiar with the variety and structure of typical EA questions. The GMAC offers a variety of official options to prepare for the exam, including practice assessments and practice questions specifically targeting the three sections on the test, including Integrated Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. These resources are available for fees ranging from $30 to $195. Given the relative newness of the EA, there are no unofficial “how to” study guides filled with practice questions. While there are countless free and pay-to-access EA resources, the format and content of the exams are not similar enough that these resources will be beneficial for everyone, although some students may find them to be helpful.
The EA was specifically designed to be a threshold indicator, meaning you are looking to score above a certain threshold, and once you have achieved that, higher scores on subsequent test attempts will not be helpful, which can make studying for this exam different than preparing for a typical test where the higher you score, the better.
Private Online EA Prep
Many private companies offer EA prep courses in online format. Online EA prep courses have many of the same benefits as traditional on-site EA classes, including interaction with instructors and fellow students, dedicated math and verbal teaching, and regular feedback and assessment. Online instruction also offers additional benefits, such as unlimited viewing of lectures and post-class review, 24-hour accessibility, and scheduling convenience. Online EA courses typically include course materials, email-based student support, and online practice tests.
Most EA prep courses focus on the following:
- Integrated Reasoning:
- Reading and interpreting XY scatterplots and sortable tables
- Integrating skills from both Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning
- Verbal Reasoning:
- Comprehending what you have read
- Summarizing what you have read
- Applying grammar rules, including subject-verb agreement, pronoun agreement, dependent and independent clauses (fragments and run-ons), noun and verb modifiers, verb tenses, parallelism, comparisons, and idioms
- Quantitative Reasoning:
- High school-level math that may include algebra but will not include geometry. Some problems may be completed using the provided calculator, while other problems must be completed longhand using a white board and markers.
- Understanding concepts and procedures including but not limited to fractions and decimals, exponents and roots, absolute value, systems of equations, inequalities, algebraic translations, quadratic equations, divisibility and prime factorization, least common multiple and greatest common factor, percentages, percentage change, and interest
The EA was designed to be taken by those with at least some experience in the field of business, although this is not a prerequisite for taking the test. The EA creators attempted to pull from everyday business practices, including the types of situations executives might be faced with and decisions they would be likely to make in the real world. Regardless of whether you have been a business professional for years or are just entering the field, it is worth taking some time to prepare for the EA through concentrated preparation.
Other Online Resources
Students preparing for the EA should take advantage of other online resources, including business school class profiles, business school rankings, blogs, and mass media. Class profiles of accepted students are usually displayed prominently on business school websites, and they are more frequently beginning to contain information about average EA scores and score ranges, in addition to average undergraduate GPA, typical levels of work experience, and demographic information (gender, country of origin, and undergraduate major). All the major business school rankings (Bloomberg, the Economist, the Financial Times, Forbes magazine, and U.S. News & World Report) are published online, although only two of these (the Economist and U.S. News) consider admission selectivity. All rankings are valuable in order to provide a complete picture of a given business school. General internet resources such as blogs and chatrooms can give worthwhile (if usually anecdotal) information, and major newspapers and magazines publish a variety of articles on the EA and graduate business study. General internet resources should be scrutinized in terms of credibility and objectivity.
Choosing the Right Online EA Prep
Online EA instruction isn't right for everyone. Some students need the accountability that comes from in-person attendance at an on-site EA prep course. Students considering online EA preparation should also remember that online interaction is more detached than on-site study. It is much more difficult to read and benefit from the non-verbal aspects of teaching in an online environment. Teachers and students react to unspoken cues in a live classroom, such as collective student responses, moods, and facial expressions that cannot easily be reproduced online. For many students, the convenience of online instruction outweighs these disadvantages. Each test-taker should carefully consider his or her personality and learning style when making decisions about online EA instruction.